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September 5, 2021 - 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

“Praise the Lord, my soul!”

Psalm 146

Readings

Isaiah 35:4-7a

Letter of St. James 2:1-5

Gospel according to Mark 7:31-37


Reflection

by Sister Dorothy Jean Beyer, OSB


The tender, comforting words from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah bring solace to us today when perhaps we and the people of the world need them the most, in the light of the pandemic, the situations in Afghanistan and Haiti, and the global climate crisis. “Thus says the Lord: Say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong, fear not! Here is your God,… he comes to save you.” Yes, our God comes to save us. Fear not, trust in the protective and caring providence of our God. Let those words sink deeply into your soul, body, and mind -- and trust. I encourage you to read the rest of the passage from Isaiah. It gets even better!


Perhaps we can use these words of Saint Teresa of Avila: “Let nothing disturb you, nothing frighten you, all things are passing, God is unchanging. Patience gains all; nothing is lacking to those who have God: God alone is sufficient.” I find much comfort from these words. Hope you do, too.


The Gospel for today continues to speak about the tenderness of our God by relating the story of the deaf man who had a speech impediment and was cured by Jesus. Jesus said, “Ephphatha!” –that is, “Be opened!” And immediately the man’s ears were opened and his speech impediment was removed. The onlookers were exceedingly astonished. Jesus’ tenderness and love are so evident to all. In response to Jesus’ love, we can say with the psalmist: “Praise the Lord, my soul!” (Psalm 146)


Reflect on these questions: In what ways can I grow in my trust of God’s tender mercy? How can my heart be expanded –be opened wider—so that I am more loving and trusting of God? Am I willing to open wide my heart to God? What one word or phrase of the readings today particularly calls out to me and why?


From the Rule of St. Benedict

“The abbot/prioress should avoid all favoritism in the monastery.” “Therefore, the abbot/prioress is to show equal love to everyone and apply the same discipline to all according to their merits.” RB2:16, 22


Gospel Acclamation

“Jesus proclaimed the Gospel of the kingdom and cured every disease among the people.” Matthew 4:23